The Australian government is threatening to close one of the few mental health facilities in the country due to state budget cuts, despite the fact that there is currently a six month waiting period for entry into the facility.
The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that a teenage girl who was on the waiting list for Barrett Adolescent Centre committed suicide in early November. According to the Herald, the 16-year old had worked as a model and was called “bright” and “articulate.” Over the past two years, the girl’s anxiety and panic attacks worsened. She began burning cigarettes into her arm to “feel something.”
The Australian Health Minister Lawrence Springborg and Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek are considering to shut down the Barrett Centre, which is the only long-term mental health facility in Queensland. For thirty years, the center has serviced 13- to 17-year-olds with severe psychiatric and psychological problems after sexual and psychological trauma.
Former patient Jessica Dawe told The Brisbane Times that the government plans to close both the Barrett Centre and its associated school was as “a really dangerous idea.” Dawe, who is 19, criticized the government’s plan to transfer patients at the Barrett Centre back into short-term psychiatric wards in Queensland hospitals.